Wednesday, August 09, 2017

A shot of truth from the mouth of a dead man

You should know that I'm going to start this post with a quote from an atheist:

I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or 
grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a 
service and information economy; when nearly all the 
key manufacturing industries have slipped away to 
other countries; when awesome technological powers 
are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing 
the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the 
people have lost the ability to set their own agendas 
or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, 
clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our 
horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable 
to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, 
we slide, almost without noticing, 
back into superstition and darkness.
Hits pretty hard these days. Here's some more frightening text, from an article posted just last week:

This Is How Your Fear and Outrage Are Being Sold for Profit

Our cable news driven "Sound Bite" mentality is starting to wear thin -- right through what might have at one time been the logic circuits of our brains.

Chances are you are not aware of your own tilt towards some kind of internal bias. Maybe you think all people of a particular party are wholesome while the rest are enemies of the state. Or of your own belief in Christianity for example. Maybe you stupidly think that everyone who professes a leaning toward say being a democrat is somehow totally in favor of all regulation, no matter how bloated or stupid that regulation is. Spoiler alert -- I lean left, I'm for more regulation of our financial / wall street institutions. Yet still, I'm not about to believe something stupid like "all regulations are great!". I'll leave that judgement for the idiots that have to simplify everything without getting a close look at the real problems.

I have a bias -- you have a bias. Sadly, our biases are not necessarily equal. Let's take science for example. I was describing the general theory of relativity to a Christian acquaintance one day and he interrupted me -- "I don't believe that." His bias toward accepting the general theory of relativity came from an inherent belief that things must be as described to him in the Bible or -- who the heck knows? I sure didn't have the ability to reach into his cranium and force his puny mental faculties into order. I tried though.

Me: Did you use GPS today to navigate anywhere?

Relativity Disbeliever Yeah, why?

Me: Good thing your GPS "believes in the theory of relativity", because it's kinda core science behind how it works...

The point is this -- a bias against scientific discoveries or science in general is forming in our country. People in power are able to set real policy regardless of what is being measured, and Sagan was right on with his prediction. Our biases are being used to build real political action, and it's not good. It's not good for our world today and it sure as heck isn't good for the world our grandchildren are growing up in.

I urge you to find more diverse news sources if you don't understand just how bad it is to "not believe" in things like Climate science -- hell, how about birth control for crying out loud? What just went down in Texas is a harbinger here -- they cut funding for teen pregnancy programs and -- guess what? Yeah, teen pregnancy is higher in Texas. The only good news out of this is that overall the nationwide trend is toward lower teenage pregnancy -- hardly comforting in the context of the desire for some to cut the funding though. So maybe you think people that make immoral decisions like having sex out of wedlock need to be punished? You think you're morally superior by forcing a new kid into the world with a teenage mom? Does that make sense to anyone?

Oh, that's right, we were talking about how the inability to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, weren't we?

Carry on.


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